Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status
Results overdue

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
There has been an increasing number of older Chinese immigrants in Canada, just as in other popular immigration destination countries such as the US, Australia, and New Zealand. They are at greater risk of social isolation and loneliness due to factors such as cultural barriers and adaptation difficulties. The aim of this study is to find out whether a peer-based intervention is effective at reducing older Chinese immigrants' social isolation and improving their psychosocial well-being.

Who can participate?
People aged 65 years or older, who are independent and experiencing isolation or lack of social support.

What does the study involve?
Participants were randomly allocated to the intervention or control group. The intervention group participants received two-on-one peer support services through home visits, telephone calls, emotional support, self-care, problem-solving, referrals to mental health and community resources, for an eight week period. The control group received no additional support.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The intervention may increase social support and positive ties among older Chinese immigrants, especially those at greater risk of social isolation, bridge formal and informal support, and strengthen helping skills and knowledge of community helpers in terms of mental health and aging.

Where is the study run from?
Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens Association, Canada

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
August 2018 to December 2018

Who is funding the study?
Institute of Active Aging, Hong Kong

Who is the main contact?
Prof. Daniel W. L. Lai

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Daniel W. L. Lai


Contact details

Department of Applied Social Sciences
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hung Hom
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
+852 3400-3018

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number

Nil Known number

Nil Known

Protocol/serial number

Nil Known

Study information

Scientific title

Randomized controlled trial of a peer-based intervention to reduce older Chinese immigrants' social isolation in Canada


Study hypothesis

The peer-based intervention is effective in reducing older Chinese immigrants' social isolation and improving their psychosocial well-being.

Ethics approval

Approval 06/06/2018, Human Subjects Ethics Application Review System of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Room Z404, 4/F, Block Z, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong; Tel: +852 (0)27664329; Email:, ref: HSEARS20180528003

Study design

Randomized controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a participant information sheet


Social isolation and loneliness


Each intervention group participant received two-on-one peer support services through home visits, telephone calls, and activities such as emotional support, referrals, help to establish goals such as self-care and social engagement, problem-solving, and mental health and community resources. Peer supporters also shared personal experiences with participants. Intervention group participants were invited to attend two monthly peer support group meetings organized by a trained staff program coordinator with professional training in social work and a Registered Social Worker, where they met with other participants and peer supporters, intended to help them develop strong, supportive, and sustainable social connections with other older people.

Control group participants only received brief telephone calls from the program coordinator over an eight-week period.

The duration of the intervention lasts for 8 weeks. The pre- and the post-test were conducted one week before and after the intervention. A range of psychosocial outcomes including loneliness, social support, barriers to social participation, depressive symptoms, anxiety, life satisfaction, happiness, and purpose in life were measured prior to and after the intervention.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Measured at baseline and week 10:
1. Loneliness (De Jong Loneliness Scale-6)
2. Social support (Lubben Social Network scale (LSNS)
3. Social participation (the Keele Assessment of Participation)

Secondary outcome measures

Measured at baseline and week 10:
1. Life satisfaction (‘In general, how satisfied are you with your life?’)
2. Depression (General Depression Scale, GDS-4)
3. Resilience (two-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, CD-RISC 2)
4. Purpose in life (the seven-item subscale of Ryff’s Psychological Well-being Scale)

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Aged 65 years or above
2. Independent in activities of daily living
3. Experiencing social isolation or lack of social support

Participant type

Healthy volunteer

Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

Clinically diagnosed with a mental disorder or cognitive impairment

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment


Trial participating centre

Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens Association
111 Riverfront Ave SW
T2P 4Y8

Sponsor information


Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Sponsor details

Hung Hom
Hong Kong
Hong Kong
+852 34003018

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Institute of Active Aging Internal Research Fund

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

The results of the trial are planned to be published in a gerontological journal in 2020. The study protocol will be available upon request. The statistical analysis plan is stated in the manuscript which is going to be submitted to an academic journal.

IPD sharing statement:
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request

Intention to publish date


Participant level data

Available on request

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

20/12/2019: Trial's existence confirmed by Human Subjects Ethics Application Review System of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.